My Flight Got Delayed Then Cancelled, What Do I Do Now?


( We're hoping your revenge travel flights never get cancelled or delayed, but there's no denying it can still happen given the influx of passengers and terrible weather conditions. Receiving a cancellation notification can feel like the end of the world if you spent your savings on the trip and have people to meet in a few hours, but fear not—there are rules in place to ensure you can still move forward despite the complications.

Cancellations and delays, depending on the nature and how much time has passed, offer passengers different compensation options. Below, we list down your rights so you know how to deal in case you find yourself in the middle of an unfortunate event.

Do take note that these rules apply only to Philippine flights and airlines, as regulated by the Department of Transportation and the Department of Trade and Indsutry. Anything beyond it is subject to the rules of your airline's home country, or destination.


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Here are your passenger rights in the event of flight cancellation

Flights are often cancelled due to technical errors, logistical problems, health concerns, or weather conditions. Depending on the reason, passengers may be offered different ways to deal with a cancelled flight.

In the event that a flight cancellation is attributable to the airline, the following may occur:

Cancellation at least 24 hours before flight. You have the right to:

  • be notified beforehand of the fact of cancellation
  • rebook or reimburse the passenger, at the option of the latter

Cancellation less than 24 hours before flight. You have the right to:

  • be notified beforehand of the fact of cancellation
  • amenities
  • be reimbursed of the value of the fare, taxes and surcharges, and other optional fees
  • to be endorsed to another air carrier without paying any fare difference
  • to rebook the ticket without additional charge
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Cancellation due to other causes—such as force majeure, safety and or security reasons—should result in the reimbursement of the full value of the fare.

What happens when flights get delayed?

Flight delays don't always lead to cancellations and passengers can take a different set of steps depending on how much time has elapsed since estimated time of departure.

Terminal delay of at least three hours after the estimated time of departure, whether or not it’s attributable to the carrier. You have the right to:

  • avail of refreshments or meals
  • free phone calls, text or e-mails, and first aid, if necessary
  • rebook or refund the passenger’s ticket
  • be endorsed to another carrier

Terminal delay of at least six hours after the estimated time of departure, whether or not it’s attributable to the carrier. You have the right to:

  • consider the flight cancelled for the purpose of availing the rights and amenities provided for in case of actual cancellation
  • additional compensation equivalent to at least the value of the sector delayed
  • board the flight if it takes place more than six hours after the time of departure and the affected passenger has not opted to rebook or refund

Tarmac delay of at least two hours after the ETD

Delays also occur even when you've boarded the plane. Since Philippine airports only have one runway, this may result in planes waiting for clearance to safely take off. On busy seasons, several planes may be lined up and it can take hours, but there's really not much left to do except wait in your seat. In such cases, a delay of two hours should afford you access:

  • sufficient food and beverage
best seat on a plane
Tarmac delays often mean you have nowhere else to wait except inside the plane.

Also read: What is the Future of Travel? We Asked Airbnb, AirAsia and a DIY Adventurer

How do I get my money?

Passengers who can avail reimbursement or refunds have the right to immediate payment of compensation.

Payment must be available to the affected passenger through the following channels:

  • at the carrier’s counters at the airport on the date when the incident occurred
  • at the main office or any branch of the air carrier, at the discretion of the passenger

Funds can be releases through the following modes:

  • by tendering a check
  • cash
  • a document necessary to claim the compensation of benefits. The document shall be convertible to cash within 15 days from the date when the occasion occurred 
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